Sir Alex Ferguson had championed the depth of the talent pool at his disposal ahead of the game, and sought to demonstrate it with eight changes to the side which fought out a draw at Real Madrid five days earlier, with only Jones, David De Gea and Danny Welbeck retaining their place.
The opening made by the much-changed Reds augured well. In little more than a minute United might have moved ahead as Chicharito's shot was blocked by Adrian Mariappa, as was Welbeck's rebound, and the ball ricocheted marginally too high for Antonio Valencia to nod into the yawning goal.
Less than two minutes later Welbeck forced Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici into his first save of the evening with a powerful left-footed effort, before Ashley Young's shot was bravely blocked by Sean Morrison as the winger looked certain to sidefoot home the opening goal of the game.
Reading looked overawed and disjointed in a one-sided opening five minutes, but settled from the moment Nicky Shorey fizzed in a vicious corner which somehow passed through a corridor of bodies.
After United had been frustrated by the visitors in a fairly tepid 10 minute spell, a patient spell of possession play culminated in a fine double